This has been a busy week, with the McGovern bills being introduced and with our White House petition hitting the 25k threshold.

Another big deal this week was a rally in Augusta, Maine, organized by our friends at Maine Citizens For Clean Elections, in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Our co-founder and President, Jeff Clements, participated, and there was a terrific turnout. The campaign for an amendment is well underway in Maine, with bipartisan support.

Here are excerpts from a few great press clips on it:

Maine lawmakers join effort to amend Constitution to allow campaign funding limits

Bangor Daily News, Jan 22, 2013
By Robert Long, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican state Sen. Edward Youngblood of Brewer and Democratic state Sen. Geoff Gratwick of Bangor joined forces Tuesday to endorse a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that equates campaign donations to free speech protected by the First Amendment.

The two state senators attended a State House rally Tuesday morning to mark the third anniversary of the high court’s decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission. That ruling prevents the federal government from enacting laws that limit independent campaign expenditures by groups such as corporations and unions. Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, which sponsored Tuesday’s rally, is part of a national campaign to compel Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution in a way that would rein in outside campaign spending.

“Voters of all backgrounds are calling for a U.S. Constitution amendment that would allow us to regulate the raising and spending of campaign funds to stop the unlimited flow of secret money into our democratic process,” Andrew Bossie, executive director of MCCE, told a crowd of more than 50 people, some of whom rode a bus to the rally. Many held signs that read “End corporate personhood.”

A constitutional amendment would require ratification by voters in three-quarters (38) of the 50 states.

The MCCE’s leaders say they’ve collected more than 11,000 postcards from Maine voters who support amending the U.S. Constitution to reduce the influence of independent political action committees that aren’t held to the same rules as candidates or committees directly affiliated with candidates….

A former member of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, which oversees public campaign financing, Youngblood supports a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and has submitted legislation to strengthen Maine’s Clean Election Act. That bill has yet to receive a legislative document number, but Youngblood said Tuesday that he expects it will draw Democrats, Republicans and independents as co-sponsors.

“There has to be a way to secure First Amendment rights to speech and still control the amount of dollars spent on campaigns,” he said. “It should be plain to everyone after the election we’ve just had, which broke records for spending, that the system isn’t getting better.”

Gatwick drew attention to the negative impact outside contributions had on his 2012 race against incumbent Republican Sen. Nichi Farnham. Both ran publicly funded campaigns, but Democratic and Republican party groups that targeted the Senate District 32 race as a key to control of the Senate spent more than $450,000 on the contest, making it the most expensive legislative campaign in Maine.

“I like to think that I won because of my message and ideas,” Gratwick told the crowd Tuesday. “But it was hard to tell whether we were having an election or an auction in Bangor last November.”

Gratwick said the experience left him “deeply angered” by the amount of money poured into the race by groups that had no interest in local issues and no connection to the people of District 32.

Echoing other speakers Tuesday, he said, “Elections are in danger of no longer being democratic but rather a way of concentrating power in the hands of the wealthy.”

Bossie said that his group continues to lobby Maine’s congressional delegation to support a resolution calling for the constitutional amendment. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat who represents Maine’s 1st Congressional District, last week reintroduced legislation designed to create a federal public campaign financing system similar to Maine’s.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, criticized the Citizens United decision regularly during his campaign. Bossie said Tuesday that MCCE continues to talk with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat who represents Maine’s 2nd District, about campaign finance reform.

(Full article here.)

Maine activists urge limits on campaign spending
They beckon Maine legislators to endorse an amendment against the Citizens United decision.

The Morning Sentinel / The Associated Press, January 22nd, 2013

AUGUSTA — Dozens of activists called on legislators Tuesday to make Maine the latest state to formally endorse a U.S. Constitutional amendment that they say would keep special interests from having an excessive impact on elections.

The rally at the State House, led by Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, closely followed the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which stripped away many campaign spending restrictions that had applied to corporations and unions.

“We need a U.S. Constitutional amendment that will allow us to regulate the raising and spending of campaign funds on a federal and state level,” said Andrew Bossie, executive director of the clean elections group, to cheering participants at the rally. “We also need to clarify the nature of corporate entities in their roles in our elections and governments.”…

(Full article here.)

Maine rally seeks campaign spending oversight 6:28 PM, Jan 22, 2013

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Dozens of activists, armed with thousands of signatures, called for more government regulation over campaign spending at a Maine State House rally Tuesday.

Maine Citizens for Clean Elections organized the rally, and collected 11,000 signatures in support of a resolution to endorse a new campaign finance Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Democratic Senator Geoff Gratwick, of District 32 in Bangor and Hermon, introduced the resolution due to concerns about outside money impacting elections.

If passed, Maine would become the 12th state to endorse an Amendment to regulate state and federal campaign spending.

The rally comes on the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which gave corporations the same First Amendment rights as individual citizens, allowing them to spend as much as they want on elections.

Activists at the rally said now that corporations have more rights, it makes it more difficult for average Americans to run for office, and have their voices heard.

“The concept of free speech should never be based on what’s in someone’s bank account, afterall — it is ‘free’ speech,” said BJ McCollister, Program Director of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections…

(Full story here.)
Photo by spatuletail /